colleges may not be able to meet the growing need for sophisticated support systems

Our discussions have highlighted our biggest challenge—finding an experienced MOOC instructional designer, or at least a platform specialist. As instructors continue to take the necessary risks to test this new pedagogical environment, colleges may not be able to meet the growing need for sophisticated support systems.

(via The Chronicle, Of MOOCs and Mousetraps, 21 Feb. 2013)

Many higher ed institutions might not have the tools or support to offer massive open courses today, but my belief is that these tools and support systems  are going to be a key differentiator for institutions going forward.

on the tension between freedom and an armed populace

From this widely circulated piece from the nyt’s philosophy blog (they have a philosophy blog!) on the tension between freedom and an armed populace:

Arendt offers two points that are salient to our thinking about guns: for one, they insert a hierarchy of some kind, but fundamental nonetheless, and thereby undermine equality. But furthermore, guns pose a monumental challenge to freedom, and particular, the liberty that is the hallmark of any democracy worthy of the name — that is, freedom of speech. Guns do communicate, after all, but in a way that is contrary to free speech aspirations: for, guns chasten speech.

This becomes clear if only you pry a little more deeply into the N.R.A.’s logic behind an armed society. An armed society is polite, by their thinking, precisely because guns would compel everyone to tamp down eccentric behavior, and refrain from actions that might seem threatening. The suggestion is that guns liberally interspersed throughout society would cause us all to walk gingerly — not make any sudden, unexpected moves — and watch what we say, how we act, whom we might offend.

Our gun culture promotes a fatal slide into extreme individualism. It fosters a society of atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another — and in the aftermath of shootings such as at Newtown, paralyzed with fear. That is not freedom, but quite its opposite. And as the Occupy movement makes clear, also the demonstrators that precipitated regime change in Egypt and Myanmar last year, assembled masses don’t require guns to exercise and secure their freedom, and wield world-changing political force. Arendt and Foucault reveal that power does not lie in armed individuals, but in assembly — and everything conducive to that.

My take on why the first iPad wasn’t mini

Dan Frommer and Jon Gruber both talk about why Apple didn’t lead with an iPad mini two and half years ago. They both talk about the technical challenges in miniaturization and the conceptual need to release a product that was more distinct from the iPod touch and iPhone. This might be part of the story, but I think there is something else at play. Think back to the iPad unveiling. Apple showed off their iWork suite for iOS and a keyboard dock. They were imagining the iPad as a work machine. With the keyboard dock and emphasis on an office suite, it almost seems like they were thinking in the same direction Microsoft is now with the surface. By the the time the iPad 2 came around Apple was able to get a better sense of what these devices are best used for, and it wasn’t office. The keyboard dock was gone and the emphasis was placed more on on the iLife style apps. It is quite possible that Apple just didn’t know what size iPad was best as they didn’t have the use cases nailed down yet. 

P.S. I am not sure if the miniaturization cost argument makes sense when Apple was already producing much smaller iOS devices (iPhones and iPods touch) for years when the first iPad was announced.

My notes from @jimgroom keynote at #pse12

Education Parkour: Tracking The Open Web for Teaching and Learning.

Let’s start at the beginning of university tech: email. University email address defined him.

Then shared folder. Then personal URL (we still use that at Penn State.)
Don’t lock up the best work at the univ, like in an lms.

We’ve gone from preppies in the 8os to preppers in the 2010s

Dump email address – like Boston college planned to do. Why do we make a choice for student with outsourcing, you are on google or microsoft. Why not let people use whatever they want?

Parkour as a metaphor for education and technology.

Rebull – do parkour in this arena – no way! it goes against the whole notion of freedom.

We don’t need to be the gatekeeper Don’t imagine the web like this.

Eduglu was a McGuffin – it is was nothing, but it drove the plot forward.

Blogs define the web, but people still look at you cross-eyed when you say it – cats and politics.

UMW blog hosts student run research sites and there is a URL for each of them. Students are populating the web, and it is rising to the top.

All ed techs should want to do is control the flow into an aggregated space where it can be discovered. Students can use any space they want.

Virginia Wolfe, A room of ones own. For women to achieve equality, they would need a room of ones own. Independence defined in terms of space. Does this translate to the digital?

UMW bought web hosting and 400 domains for students. True ownership. True control.

Thomas Jefferson thought that each generation should be revolting against the previous one.

DS106 students submit storytelling assignments for the class. At first Jim made the assignments, but students said they could do better. Now it is. Fits perfectly into the “Why wasn’t I consulted?” model of the web. One of the ways ds106 is a true web-native course.

University website is Not a brochure – but a fishtank. Should provide a view into the activity of community.

Paul Roeland: Better tools for a better world. My notes. #pse12

Here are my hastily typed notes from Paul Roeland’s keynote that kicked off day two of the Plone Symposium East 2012. You can find his slides online. Emphasis is placed on points that sparked special reaction from me. Maybe that is because they support my already established worldview, or in some cases because they challenged me to re-examine my established worldview. They will be subjects for further reflections at another time.

To create a better world, we will need all the tools we can.

World didn’t end in 80s – nuclear fear – DIY culture born out of this.

Radio – pirate radio in the netherlands. Used to protest.

Modem – the bookpress of our age. Bulletin Board culture. Didn’t have to wait for someone to tell you news, you could contact people in other parts of the world directly. Internet is doing the same right now.

Internet arrived late in europe because they wanted to regulate it. A group of hackers set up the first ISP in netherlands. “We are not going to wait for anyone to say it is right, we are just going to do it”

They built their own noise meters and hooked up them to home to measure noise, when the goverment said the meters would be too expensive and the infrastructure to connect them would be too expensive.

Time is the new currency. People value facebook and instagram because they are based on mindshare. trying to make a formula to convert mindshare to money. Noprofits, for profits, ad agencies, they all are interested in mindshare.

Of course money still counts, but tech is an equalizer. Net and Mobile are DISRUPTIVE. NGO funding is directly related to attention. You can get around the “he who has the most money wins” problem.

we’re just having converstation – That’s all we do with technology and politcs. Same as cavemen around a fire.

kobotoolbox – create a form that also can include photos and gps coordinates. Save it on entry level android device. even if no coverage, it can store on device then be collected when returned to headquarters. Needs to be used for anthropological research. no one will suspect you for just having a form, too. Having piles of paper bring attention.

Not all open source software is centered in the western world anymore. Map Kibera project. Kibera is an area of Nairobi. They started creating job posting, and news. Made local online media source. Connect to SMS, send sms news to 100,000 people at once. People can send messages back for on-the-street reports as well. Ushahidi is name of mapping software. People can report voting rights abuses on election day and observers find this info right away.

Keep lines and tool open – it is essential. Walled gardens is an opportunity for censorship and a single point of failure.

Make tech personal and communal. Organize many mouths and many eyes. Avoid tunnel view. If you only follow best practices, you will never find a better practice.

Don’t create things that are just correct from a technical perspective, but from a literary perspective as well. Don’t stay in your safe tech hideout.

facts are not sufficient. Just because you are right, you will not get any attention, and we are in an attention economy. Story has to not just be right, it has to be good. It has to be beautiful. “The best way to get value from data is to give it away” (Neelie Smit-Kroes), but presentation is not optional!

Don’t design by committee. Every tweet shouldn’t have to be signed by three people, and be checked to confirm to policy, then conversation will move on without you.

open-washing: example: IATI standard is great. EITI standard – funded by BP, shell, exxon mobil, etc. Wrong way to go about transparency. Lot’s of open-washing. Like green-washing.

Tech is strategic, not an expense. Discussions are n-way conversations. Discussions are not people on top tell you what is right. practice what you preach.

for techies – don’t built a website – build an oeuvre. Think instruments, not tools. Delivering to specs is delivering the next legacyware. Not including mobiles? You’re elitists. You are excluding 4/5 of the population that will never own a computer other than the one they are holding right now.

Open source, data, and channels – we need all three.